I’m not sure what happened. I know I was frustrated and in a hurry. I wanted to finish taping up the tarp I was fitting to our trampoline. I was tired and hot, and like a child had worked myself up into a frenzy to get it done when I ran out of tape. I was getting off the trampoline to fetch another roll when something went wrong. The crate I was using as a step spun away from me, I slipped off the trampoline and fell a full four feet, the dry grass rising in a spin to meet my face and my back slamming against the hard edge of the crate.
I lay on the drought-dry-as-cement dirt in the backyard and yelled my husband’s name.
I didn’t even try to move. I knew I couldn’t. My daughter came out to investigate. “Get Daddy!” I yelled and next thing he was hurtling down the steps and racing toward me. “I’m okay!” I yelled out. “I just can’t get up.”
I have never hurt myself this badly before. I’m too cautious. I play it safe, always have, and maybe I’ve been lucky too. But the only other serious injury I have sustained was a broken foot. That wasn’t as bad because it was one bone with a small fracture. Enough to warrant a cast and crutches, but at least it was all in one spot.
This time I bruised several ribs and countless muscles in my back and side which makes many things hard to do. Sleeping, standing, reaching, walking and sitting were all suddenly painful and difficult tasks. Driving was out, and so was laughing and, God forbid, coughing. Even burping hurt. It was awful. But my husband did everything as I laid in bed and took the time to heal. He kept telling me, you’ll get better, and I did. It will take weeks, maybe longer to heal completely, but after four days of rest I’m back to doing most things.
The timing is interesting. I always assign meaning to events like this. Especially when there’s no one but myself to blame. I tell myself, “this is actually a good thing!” and in many ways I believe that’s true.
Every part of the body is symbolic and the back, for me, is history. What’s behind me. My past. I have been housing some very old pain in my back muscles since I was in my twenties. I’ve tried stretching and massage and both help a lot, but if I really wanted to heal my back I would need to get serious about Yoga and have regular massage therapy. No, I have not done either.
This injury ignited all those tight muscles on my right side and then added a bunch more for good measure. The mild back pain I have suffered for years was suddenly in-my-face debilitating, along with a lot of new pain, but I knew I had it coming. I mean, here I am, putting more and more energy into getting my book out into the world, the book that tells the story of that old pain, the pain I’ve been carrying all my adult life and I’ve basically stomped on it with all my weight, all hundred and thirty pounds of me, landing on it hard. And I added a bunch of new muscles and threw in some ribs to get pounded on too, because life isn’t that neat and confined and if you’re going to get serious and stomp on old pain, you’re going to make some new injuries. All of it shows me how to live, how to jump off the trampoline with my eyes open and be ready to land on my feet, or fall and get hurt again, maybe even mangle myself worse next time. I know I’ll survive, and that it’s worth it to get this story out, let myself be seen, and set me, but more importantly my history, free.